Review of the Week: Dory and the Real True Friend

Dory and the Real True FriendHanlon, Abby. Dory and the Real True Friend . Abby Hanlon, Illus. Fiction. Dory Fantasmagory Series, Bk. 2. Dial, 10/2015. 153p. $14.99. 978-0-525-42866-4. OUTSTANDING.  GRADES 1-3.

Dory and Mary (her monster) and her fairy godmother Mr. Nuggy are ready for a new year of school and to make a new friend. Dory may have met her match in Rosabelle, who has a headband for a crown and an imagination that rivals Dory’s. Hanlon’s illustrations capture the utter bewilderment of the Fantasmagory family as they attempt to channel Dory’s wacky ways into more socially acceptable behaviors. Against all odds, Dory’s unusual behavior seems nothing more than a bit quirky. In a lesser author’s hands it would have come off as trying too hard, but Hanlon’s coup is that she makes the unbelievable seem completely authentic. This is true, even when it involves wearing a Santa hat to the first day of school or her righteous indignation when using a banana phone to call her fairy godmother. It’s hard to think of another early chapter book with characterization this strong.

Beth Gousman, Montclair School

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